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York man Keith Birkinshaw must spend 18 years in prison for murder in Luxembourg
10:26am Tuesday 25th September 2012 in News
A YORK man serving a life sentence for murder after a raid on a Luxembourg tobacco warehouse has been told he must spend at least 18 years behind bars.
Keith Birkinshaw watched as his son Edward, also from York, shot warehouse manager Francis Lemal four times before leaving him for dead in November 2000, in a robbery that saw a large amount of cash stolen. Another employee, Christophe Padiglioni, was shot through the head at point-blank range and killed.
Although Keith Birkinshaw, who lived in Foxwood, did not fire the shots, he was convicted of murder in 2004 by a Luxembourg court which said the level of “cold-bloodedness and brutality” involved was rare in such a small country. He had tried to pin the blame on his son, but the court ruled it was a carefully-planned and premeditated raid in which “no witnesses were to be left alive” and that he had assisted Edward Birkinshaw in the attempted murder of Mr Lemal and Mr Padiglioni’s execution.
Birkinshaw, now in his late 50s, was repatriated to the UK to serve his sentence in 2009 and, after reviewing the case at the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Cranston fixed his minimum jail term at 18 years, meaning he cannot apply for release on parole until 2021.
The judge said it was clear Keith Birkinshaw had intended to kill during the robbery and his progress while in custody had not been “exceptional” so did not warrant a shorter minimum term.